A Eurovision post, a whole week late? That’s s-l-o-w blogging, even for you, Aethel.
I know, I know. It’s a function of the way I like to experience the contest – which is to watch the grand final first, then the semis (because I find the main event less fun if I know the songs in advance, but I also like to know the songs that didn’t make it through), and to do it all in a slow, gentle way. So I didn’t actually watch the second semi until Thursday just gone. Add a day or so for me to channel my thought drizzle into a small, muddy puddle and – hey, presto! – out comes this post.
(Oh, and for the record, I use the terms ‘we’ and ‘us’ liberally throughout this post to refer to those of us who live in what’s currently the United Kingdom. I do appreciate that ‘we’ is pretty strained in this year of the Independence referendum. Personally, as someone who supports YES, I’m looking forward to the day when the independent countries of Scotland and (what remains of) the UK can combine with Ireland to form our very own bloc in Eurovision voting. Hopefully that day will come in 2016 and then, think about it, between us we’ll be able to ensure our respective countries get at least 22 votes every year…)
I can’t claim to be a Eurovision superfan, unfortunately. I wish that I was. The guiding principle of the contest – in place of war, nation shall make (perhaps just ever so slightly naff) music unto nation – seems thoroughly lovely to me.* And almost all the Eurovision people I have met have been very much my kind of people: open-hearted and determined to celebrate the thing they love, utterly unconcerned with the comings and goings of fashion (but with, in most cases, a delightful tendency not to take the whole thing too seriously). Sadly, there is some deficiency in me that means I just don’t quite get it, whatever it is, and I can only watch Eurovision as a sympathetic, well-disposed outsider. I like it, I pay attention to it, I enjoy it – but I don’t love it, in the way real aficionados do.
It follows that you shouldn’t, when you’re reading this, expect anything of genuine value or insight. I don’t really know what I’m talking about (no change there, then…), and these are just my personal opinions. I certainly intend no insult or disrespect to proper Eurovision fans, or to any of the acts who have represented us down the years, who have all, I’m sure, done their level best. That said, one of the things that I see and hear written and said most often about Eurovision, usually as part of an inquest into a(nother) lacklustre position on the leader board, seems utterly wrong-headed to me: the oft-repeated question “What do ‘we’ have to do to have some success at Eurovision?”